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The Women's HIV Program at Northwestern Memorial Hospital

Patricia M. Garcia, MD, MPH and Dr. Sarah Sutton, MD

“We couldn’t do the work that we need to do without the heart and support of our board.”
Patricia Garcia, MD, MPH, with Sarah Sutton, MD, co-directors
of the Women’s HIV Program
at the Infectious Disease Center at Northwestern Memorial Hospital

In 1991, Doctors Pat Garcia and Michelle Till developed one of the first Women’s HIV Programs in the country to address the unique needs of this population. A critical segment of the population is HIV-positive expectant mothers, so this innovative program was tailored to provide the necessary support to treat these moms-to-be and to bring their babies into the world free of the HIV virus. Today, over twenty years later, the Women’s HIV Program at the Infectious Disease Center at Northwestern Memorial Hospital is directed by Dr. Garcia along with Dr. Sarah Sutton, who lead a dedicated team of multi-disciplinary professionals to provide a comprehensive and holistic approach to the HIV treatment of women. The services include:

  • Complete gynecological care, including breast health, pap smears and annual exams
  • Complete obstetrical care for HIV-positive pregnant women
  • Pre-conception counseling appointments, and individual appointments to discuss options for becoming pregnant
  • A dedicated health psychologist on staff to see patients for any mental health concern
  • A Peer Mentorship program that allows a pregnant woman to be paired with a previous mom from the clinic, offering support and guidance throughout the pregnancy
  • Involvement in research studies related to pregnancy, newborns and beyond to help scientists better understand HIV

The Program's Staff

PHOTO: Back Row (left to right): Robin Dorman, PsyD, Pyria Rajan, MD, Susan Goldsmith, MD, Brianne Condron, RNC, Minh Dinh, MD, Patricia Garcia, MD, MPH, Janelle Walton, MD. Front Row (left to right): Sarah Sutton, MD, Emily Miller, MD, Carey Eppes, MD, Amy Wong, MD, Phyllis Chong, LCSW.
Doctors Rajan amd Walton oversee the clinic in Dr. Garcia’s absence. Dr. Eppes is no longer with NMH. Not pictured: Cassing Hammond, MD, and Lynn Yee, MD.

PROGRAM SUCCESS

  • The Women’s HIV Program of the Infectious Disease Center at Northwestern Memorial Hospital is one of the leading programs in the country, treating hundreds of HIV-positive women every year.
  • The Women’s HIV Program at NMH is the largest provider of obstetric care for HIV-positive mothers in Illinois, delivering 35-40 babies annually. In the past 16 years, over 390 babies have been born HIV-free through this program.
  • The program has achieved a 99 percent success rate with its births. This means the rate of neonatal HIV infection has declined from 30 percent at the start of the program to virtually zero in 2013.
  • Since 1996, there have been only two transmission of HIV from an HIV-positive mother to her newborn baby at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
  • Dr. Pat Garcia, the founder and director of the Women’s HIV Program at NMH, co-directed and helped found the Perinatal Rapid Testing in Illinois Initiative (PRTII), which implemented rapid HIV testing in every labor and delivery unit in the state.
Patricia M. Garcia, MD, MPH

THE STAFF

Patricia M. Garcia, MD, MPH

Dr. Garcia is a professor of Maternal-Fetal medicine in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Her area of research and clinical focus has been the prevention of perinatal HIV transmission for over 20 years. She co-founded and directs the Women’s HIV Program at the Infectious Disease Center at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. She is the Executive Director of the Chicago Pediatric AIDS Prevention Initiative which she helped to found in 1999. She co-directed and helped found the Perinatal Rapid Testing in Illinois Initiative (PRTII) which implemented rapid HIV testing in every labor and delivery unit in the state. She is the founder and medical director of the statewide perinatal hotline and enhanced case management program. In 2009, she was appointed as a member of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS(PACHA).

Dr. Sarah Sutton, MD

Dr. Sarah Sutton, MD

Dr Sarah Sutton is an infectious disease attending at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Her medical training was in internal medicine and pediatrics followed by a combined adult/pediatric infectious diseases fellowship. The care of HIV infection adults and adolescents, particularly women, has been the out-patient focus of her 10-year career at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. For the past 7 years, she has shared responsibilities with Dr. Patricia Garcia in the Northwestern Memorial Hospital (NMH) Women and Perinatal HIV Clinic. Dr. Sutton has participated in NIH-funded IMPAACT studies involving HIV-infected mothers and their infants. She has also participated in ACTG studies of adults and adolescents. Special areas of clinical and research interest are maternal-to-child HIV transmission, pill aversion, difficulties in HAART adherence, and gender-related factors that impact retention in HIV care. On a state-wide level, she has participated as the adult ID consultant for the Illinois Perinatal HIV Hotline. Dr. Sutton plans to deepen her involvement in clinical care and research of women throughout the life cycle. She appreciates deeply the emotional and financial support, energy, and enthusiasm of the HOPE Board.

Brianne Condron, RN-C, BSN

Brianne Condron, RN-C, BSN

Brianne Condron is the Nurse Coordinator for the Northwestern Perinatal HIV Clinic. With over 11 years of Women’s Health nursing experience, she has a broad base of knowledge about all aspects of obstetrical care. Brianne plays a key role in the care of pregnant patients with HIV. With meticulous attention to detail, she oversees all steps of coordination: review of prior patient history, appointments and follow up. Brianne facilitates communication among the patients, physicians and other members of the interdisciplinary team. Her dedication and compassion make her a valuable member of our team. Brianne believes in health promotion and strong patient education. She greatly enjoys the long term relationships she has built with families.

Phyllis Chong, MSW, LCSW

Phyllis Chong, MSW, LCSW

Phyllis Chong is a Senior Social Worker with Northwestern Memorial Hospital. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with 12 years of experience in various settings such as child welfare, domestic violence, hospice and HIV and OB. Since 2005, she has worked at NMH, starting in the Home Hospice program then transitioning to the Women’s HIV program working with the pregnant patients. Phyllis has a strong interest in the culture implications of health issues, specifically how culture impacts patient’s ability to copy with their health concerns. She was part of a delegation of social workers that attended the first annual US-Cambodia joint social work conference in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in 2007 to confront cultural health dynamics.

Minh H. Dinh, MD

Minh H. Dinh, MD

Dr. Minh H. Dinh is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine. Since her fellowship in Infectious Diseases at Northwestern in 2008, she has worked with Dr. Thomas Hope to understand female-to-male HIV transmission and the scientific mechanism behind the observed protective effects of male circumcision. She has conducted extensive research with sophisticated fluorescent microscopic techniques. Dr. Minh’s clinical interests are centered around understanding and preventing mother-to-child HIV transmission, and collaborates with a select group of obstetricians, gynecologists, nurses, social workers, case managers, and clinical psychologists on the HIV Perinatal treatment team at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

Robin Dorman, PsyD

Robin Dorman, PsyD

Dr.Robin Dorman, has been working in the field of health and medical psychology for 10 years with a specialty in cognitive-behavioral therapy and the interface between medicine and mental health. She has been a member of the HIV Perinatal treatment team since 2009 and works with our patients on concerns including mood disorders, post partum depression, smoking cessation, HIV medication adherence,and HIV status disclosure. Prior to working with HIV, Dr. Dorman worked in oncology, pain management, spinal cord injury, and primary care. She earned her doctoral degree from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology and is currently on the faculty of Northwestern University.

Fellows

Fellows

PHOTO (left to right): Lynn Yee, MD, Amy Wong, MD and Emily Miller, MD are fellows working with Doctors Garcia and Sutton in the Women’s HIV Program.